We are pleased to announce that next Tuesday, 12th May 2009, Prof. Jeffrey T. Checkel, Professor of International Studies (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver) and Guest Fellow at the Kolleg-Forschergruppe “The Transformative Power of Europe”, will present his paper “Causal Mechanisms and Transnationalized Civil Violence”.
Time: Tuesday, 12th May, 6-8 pm
Place: Ihnestr. 26, Room 202
Mechanism-based accounts of social change are increasingly popular in the discipline. Social theorists study them; rationalists invoke them; constructivists employ them as a way to connect agent and structure; methodologists offer advice on how to study and measure them. At the same time, a nascent, second generation literature on civil war is turning to mechanisms to capture the dynamics of civil conflict. This paper surveys quantitative and qualitative studies of civil war, exploring how they conceptualize and measure causal mechanisms. I argue that such work will be enhanced to the extent it draws upon insights about mechanisms in other subfields, including social theory, international relations theory and methods. The central challenge for all students of causal mechanisms is practical and operational – how does one measure mechanisms in action?